“Wine Women & Shoes”
It was five o’clock somewhere. So by noon in Cleveland, the wine was flowing and the fashions flaring at the 2019 Wine Women & Shoes to benefit Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. Presented by Majestic Steel USA, the sold-out event gave 500 attendees a chance to show off fancy footwear, shop for artisan jewelry, then lunch on poached pear salad and New York strip steak while watching a parade of fashions on the Toni in Style runway.
The midday fun celebrated the 40th anniversary of Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, described by executive director Craig Wilson as a place “to welcome friends at a fragile time.” The house on University Circle offers families a place to stay while their children are in active medical treatment at area hospitals. Kitchens, common rooms, and gardens as well as Family Rooms in the local hospitals add to the foundation of comfort.
The original house in 1979 offered rooms for 26 families in a renovated hotel. A new 36-family home was built in 1994 and expanded in 2013 to 55 rooms. Last year, Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland reports, the house hosted families from 23 countries and 42 states, with an average stay of 12 days at a cost $100 a night. Though a $20 room donation is requested, the average collected last year was about $10, and no family is ever turned away for inability to pay.
Donations from individuals, organizations and corporations in northeast Ohio make up 97 percent of the operating budget, defraying the cost of stays and providing over 1,000 meals annually. The midday wine sippers and shoe shoppers at Hilton Cleveland Downtown added $290,000 to further support “friends at a fragile time.” STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT